Harper became the seventh player in National League MVP balloting to win the award by a unanimous vote. The others were Orlando Cepeda, Mike Schmidt, Jeff Bagwell, Ken Caminiti, Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols, the previous such winner, in 2009. There have been 10 unanimous winners in the American League, most recently Mike Trout last year. Harper had not received a vote in any previous MVP election. The only other unanimous winner in either league with that distinction was Caminiti, who received MVP votes only in the year he won the award, 1996.
Harper was the 16th former NL winner of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award to go on to win an MVP Award, most recently Buster Posey (Rookie of the Year in 2010, MVP in 2012). There have been nine AL Rookie of the Year winners who also were MVPs, including Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001), who won both awards in the same year.
Harper is the first winner for the Washington franchise or its predecessor in Montreal. The highest finish for an Expos player in their 35 seasons (1969-2004) was second place by Gary Carter in 1980 and Andre Dawson in 1981 and ’83. The highest previous finish for a Nationals player since 2005 was fifth place by Anthony Rendon last year.
This election marked the first time the top three vote getters were not on teams that qualified for post-season play since the AL election of 1991: the Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken Jr. first, the Detroit Tigers’ Cecil Fielder second and the Chicago White Sox’ Frank Thomas third. The last time it occurred in an NL election was 1959: the Chicago Cubs’ Ernie Banks first, the Milwaukee Braves’ Eddie Mathews second and the Braves’ Henry Aaron third. The Braves tied the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place and lost the pennant in a best-of-three playoff series that year, but those games were considered part of the regular season.
It was the second time Goldschmidt finished second in an MVP election. He was also the runner-up in 2013. He became the 26th player with multiple runner-up finishes in MVP voting and the 11th who has never won the award.
Harper, who turned 23 Oct. 16, was the fourth youngest winner overall and the third in the NL. In 1971, AL winner Vida Blue turned 22 July 28 of that year. The two NL winners younger than Harper were Johnny Bench in 1970 (he turned 23 Dec. 7 that year) and Stan Musial in 1943 (he turned 23 Nov. 21 that year).
Harper and Goldschmidt were the only players named on every ballot.
Ballots from two writers in each league city prior to postseason play are tabulated on a system that rewards 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third on down to one for 10th.
2015 NL MVP
|Bryce Harper, Nationals||30||420|
|Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks||18||3||1||3||3||2||234|
|Joey Votto, Reds||1||6||6||9||4||2||175|
|Anthony Rizzo, Cubs||3||4||7||4||2||2||3||1||1||162|
|Andrew McCutchen, Pirates||1||4||3||4||5||3||3||3||1||139|
|Jake Arrieta, Cubs||5||3||2||2||4||7||2||134|
|Zack Greinke, Dodgers||2||5||4||1||5||4||3||130|
|Nolan Arenado, Rockies||4||4||2||4||1||1||4||102|
|Buster Posey, Giants||1||3||6||5||4||6||84|
|Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers||2||2||1||1||3||2||1||49|
|Kris Bryant, Cubs||1||1||3||2||1||34|
|Matt Carpenter, Cardinals||2||8||2||26|
|Yoenis Cespedes, Mets||2||3||2||24|
|A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks||2||1||1||8||21|
|Jason Heyward, Cardinals||1||1||1||2||15|
|Dee Gordon, Marlins||3||6|
|Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals||1||5|
|Curtis Granderson, Mets||1||4|
|Gerrit Cole, Pirates||1||3|
|Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers||1||1||3|